Review by Brian on January 22, 2015.
Code which began as something of a supergroup featuring members Ulver and Dodheimsgard, has always been one of those bands that have been good but never great. They've had great moments, but never that complete album that I have always thought them capable of producing. Thankfully my faith in them has been justified with their latest endeavor.
Mut, The fourth full length from the London quintet, sees the band taking a new musical direction. Putting aside their progressive black metal sound for a post rock approach. But it's much more than that. They still display all the progressive elements that have made them a good band for the last decade. However on Mut they have found themselves, realizing their full potential. Focusing on the lighter side of their music has brought out the best the band has to offer. This can really be seen with vocalist Wacian, who joined the band in 2011. On their last release Augur Noir he was trying to fill the very large shoes left by Kvohst. On their latest release Wacian is doing his own thing and it is with beautiful vocal passages that touch the very soul of the listener. His vocals are reminiscent of Kristoffer Rygg and Simen Hestnæs , but have a flare all their own. With guitarist Aort, the only remaining original member, this seems like an appropriate time for the change.
There are no weak tracks or anything that could be considered filler on Mut. Right from the start you can hear the differences in their approach and start to prepare yourself for something special. That special feeling hits you full force on the third track "Dialogue". It has an Anathema vibe with clean channel guitar, melancholic melodies and the vocals resemble Danny Cavanagh rather than Vincent. The song builds momentum, with it the vocals break into a desperate cry that is somewhere between Roger Waters on "Vera" and Simen Hestnæs on "The Chaos Path". In an album packed full of great songs, "Cocoon" is another of the more memorable ones. The drums and bass line provide faster tempo that is offset by slower single note guitar picking and melancholic vocals. It's eerie yet catchy. This contrast makes the song work so well. As a whole, the album displays this contrast of despair and a uplifting feeling intertwined.
Code have created a beautiful, emotional and formidable album of progressive rock/metal with Mut. They show tremendous growth from their last album. I really hope that they continue to shape themselves and further build off this release. Too many bands take this step and achieve greatness only to crawl back to familiar territory. I believe this will not be the case with Code. I'm sure that some of the band's fanbase will criticize this release, as I'm sure they will gain some new fans. I am one fan who has gained more respect and appreciation for them. Code's refusal to be restricted to labels of their past is what makes Mut their most mature and finest album to date.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10